Customer service can make or break your business. It can determine whether or not customers return, and can have long lasting negative impacts to your brand if not handled correctly. Poor customer service experiences can escalate even the smallest of conflicts, which may result in unhappy customers taking to social media and other public platforms to air their grievances, harming your company’s overall reputation.

excellent customer serviceOn the other hand, providing excellent customer service experiences keeps customers happy, increases the probability that they’ll make future purchases from your company, and helps sets you apart from competitors. That being said, there are many ways on how to deliver excellent customer service. 

Here are 5 must-have excellent customer service skills:

Accessibility

Customers must be able to contact your company to ask questions, discuss problems, or leave feedback on your products and services. Ideally, you should provide more than one contact option, such as telephone, email, social media, and form feedback. Make sure that your contact information is visible on your website, email communications, and newsletters.

Professionalism

Angry, rude, or abusive customers can put any customer service agent’s patience level to the test, but it’s essential to remain calm and professional at all times. Don’t let a rude customer drag you into an angry verbal or textual exchange, as any comments you make via telephone, live chat, email, or social media can easily be made public. This can stir up a wave of negative publicity. No matter what the provocation is, you should never use swear words or make derogatory comments about customers.

Responsibility

Always take responsibility for any mistakes you’ve made, as this helps to rebuild trust with dissatisfied customers. It’ll reduce the likelihood of unhappy customers posting negative comments or leaving bad reviews about your business online. Many businesses unknowingly escalate customer conflicts by denying, covering up, or shifting blame to others when they’ve made a mistake. However, this is a poor strategy that can open you up to more serious problems down the line. If you deny your responsibility in creating a problem and are later found to be lying, the resulting negative publicity can wreak havoc on your business and everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

Timeliness

While most customers understand that you’re unlikely to reply to emails immediately, you must ensure that your response times are within a reasonable time frame. Let customers know how long they can expect to wait for a response to an email or social media communication. If you offer telephone support, provide an optimal time to reach your helplines. If you have a specific email address for customer queries and complaints, set up an auto-response confirmation message to let customers know that you’ve received their email and aim to respond within the given period of time.

Satisfaction

Turning unhappy customers into satisfied ones can be a tricky process, but open communication is the first step. Customers need to feel that you’ve heard and understood their concerns, and have taken them seriously. Whenever possible, take the necessary steps to fix any issues customers may have with your business, products, or services. Alternatively, you can make amends by offering refunds, vouchers, or free products/services.

To Sum Up

Providing excellent customer service experiences on a consistent basis will increase the chances that customers return and purchase from you again. It can help set you apart from competitors and boost your company’s reputation. Satisfied customers will be more likely to recommend your company to friends, family, and their social media followers.